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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘civil unrest’

Don Beck & South Africa #2

PART 2 Beck’s legacy A personal annecdote…in June 1999 I fell into conversation with a group of visiting South African students in Leeds. To my surprise, they not only knew of Don Beck but regarded him as something of a ‘political hero’. (2 of them had actually seen him speak at a university appearance.) One of them told me that, thanks to Beck’s work, race would be a dead issue in South Africa inside 5 years – and these students were from the Transvaal, hard Boer Afrikaner stock from an inherently-racist tradition! Race-as-a-dead-issue has proved hopelessly optimistic but the students’ comments give a flavour of just how much impact Beck and Clare W Graves’ ideas had in South Africa in the 1990s. In an August 1993 interview with Padraig O’Malley, archived on the Nelson Mandela Foundation web site, Hall, explains the  model Beck used in South Africa: “Donald Beck, he’s the American sort of sociologist who has been working in this country with my companies for a long time and he makes it very complicated, I simplify everything – as you know. So level one is a hunter/gatherer, level two is a tribal collectivist, level three is people that have urbanised, come into… Read More

Citizen-Driven Community and Nation Building

by Bjarni Snæbjörn Jónsson 7 June 2018 I am honoured to publish this ‘guest feature’ on the MeshWORKS conecept by the remarkable Bjarni Snæbjörn Jónsson.  His main research interests lie in large systems development through public participation.  He was a founding member of The Anthill in Iceland which organized a cross-sectional National Assembly in 2009 involving abt. 1000 randomly sampled citizens which were physically joined for a day to formulate the Icelandic nation‘s future superordinate goals, following the financial crisis of 2008 which hit Iceland particularly hard. These goals were at the centre of the drive for constitutional reform which has dominated Icelandic politics since. Bjarni’s feature originally appeared in  Innovative Development: Emerging Worldviews and Systems Change (Integral Publishers, August 2015), edited by the late Tom Christensen. It is reproduced here with Bjarni’s express permission and encouragement. With the exception of some minor formatting changes and a several links added, it is reproduced exactly as it appeared in ‘Innovative Development’. To maintain the integrity of the piece as published, I have retained Bjarni’s use of the SDi terminology. However, for the purposes of this site, readers should effectively susbstitute ‘Gravesian’ for ‘SDi’. The truth is not to be found in books, not even good books. The truth… Read More

Enoch Powell: Racist or Prescient?

30 April 2018 In April 2018 there was quite a  fuss about the 50th anniversary (20 April) of Enoch Powell’s notorious ‘rivers of blood’ speech. For example, Powell was described as “quite dishonest” by The Independent’s Sean O’Grady. Sky News’ Lewis Goodall argued at length that Powell was a racist and a populist. As reported by the likes of The Guardian’s Mark Sweeney and the Evening Standard’s Fiona Simpson , the BBC’s Radio 4 came under intense criticism for having broadcast the speech transcript (with critical analysis). Several expert contributors publicly dissociated themselves from the broadcast while former transport minister Lord Andrew Adonis threatened he would raise the matter in Parliament. So, it seemed appropriate to look again at Powell’s speech from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, explore how racist it really was, how prescient it was and how the contemporary United Kingdom looks in terms of Powell’s predictions and their impact. How relevant it is to today’s political landscape  is illustrated by Matthew d’Ancona who writes in The Guardian: “Powell was wrong about so much. Yet Powellism found its purest expression in the 2016 EU referendum result, which enshrined the convergence of two of his greatest fixations: hostility to immigration and opposition to Britain’s… Read More

Putin, Trump and the Endgame for Syria

A  couple of years back I stopped writing about Syria. It wasn’t a deliberate decision. It just seemed to happen. The routine nature of the horrific atrocities committed with relative abandon by both sides, with advantage seeming to swing first one way and then the other and then the other and then the other yet again seemed endless and wearisome. Everything that could be said seemed to have been said…and yet still it went on. Meanwhile, the Crimea, the Ukraine, the Scottish independence referendum, the Peshawar Massacre, Charlie Hebdo and other UnIsamic State atrocities, Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexit referendum, Jeremy Corbyn (again!), Donald Trump…. So many other things have happened in those 2-3 years and so many of them ‘closer to home’…and, as the apocryphal ‘McClurg’s Law’ postulates: the more something is closer to you (racially, nationalistically, culturally), the more newsworthy it is (Stephen Moore, Steve Chapman & Dave Aiken, 2009). Thus, it is understandable (in some senses, at least) that Syria went ‘off the radar’ at times not only for myself but for many other ‘thinkers’ and much of the Western media. Now, though, as what seems to be the final, heartbreaking agonies of Aleppo are so grim and apparently so decisive, they actually break through the news barrier and Syria becomes… Read More

Why Brexit makes Me SO ANGRY!!

Carol Thornton is a Green Party councillor in North Lincolnshire. Way back in 2005 she came on one of my training courses in Hull. Our paths haven’t really crossed since but we’re Facebook ‘friends’ and occasionally comment on each other’s postings. Earlier this month Carol called one of my postings about Boris ‘Liar’ Johnson and some of the more dreadful economic consequences of a ‘hard Brexit’ “more overtly political than your usual. Whatever happened to the Spiral?” It was a good challenge that really took me aback. I pointed out that my last 4 Integrated SocioPsychology Blog posts had been concerned with the EU referendum and the development of Brexit. However, I conceded: “I struggle to be dispassionate and objective on the EU issue because Brexit is going to be such a social and economic disaster and #traitormay is just ploughing on regardless. It’s hard to be dispassionate and objective when you feel personally and immediately threatened by something. And I feel personally and immediately threatened by Brexit. I envision living out my old age in poverty because of what these moronic zealots are doing to our country. I am VERY ANGRY!!” When you feel “personally and immediately threatened”, the emotional… Read More

So the Turkeys did vote for Christmas?!?

Well,  obviously it remains to be seen just how much damage Brexit does to the UK – socially, economically and politically. But the initial consequences do not look at all good: Britain’s credit rating downgraded, the pound struggling to get much above the rock bottom it hit on Monday, up and down (but mostly down) stocks and shares (with markets right around the world affected), the banks and many big companies drawing up relocation plans (with consequent loss of jobs), a mooted 25% of companies declaring a freeze on hiring staff, a significant increase in incidents of racial and ethnic abuse, momentum building for a second Scottish independence referendum and Martin McGuinness calling for a referendum on whether the island of Ireland should be reunited. The ‘serious’ newspapers and internet news sites are full of dire predictions of far worse to come. As the so-called ‘Project Fear’ appears to be turning rapidly into reality, it would be foolish indeed to say blandly everything is going to be OK, as Boris Johnson was doing on Monday morning. The pound and the markets were stable he stated an hour or so before the pound hit a 31-year low. Everything is not OK. Not in the slightest. The UK faces an existential… Read More

The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

Leadership – a SocioPsychological Perspective

Updated: 26 May 2016 What makes a successful leader successful? is a question that appears to have vexed politicians and philosophers from the beginnings of civilisation. Certainly, the number of books and articles on leadership by ‘management gurus’ and social psychologists since the end of World War II indicates an ongoing fascination with the topic and, arguably, a vital need to understand the nature of leadership. Peter F Drucker, Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Howard Gardner, James MacGregor Burns, John William Gardner, John Kotter and Peter Senge are just a handful of the heavyweight names who have contributed high-profile books on the subject. One unequivocal key factor which has emerged from the multitude of investigations into ‘leadership’ is that leadership and management are not the same thing. Drucker (1967) was perhaps the first to say this, articulating: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Covey (p101, 1989) provides an illuminating example to illustrate this point: “…envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem-solvers. They’re cutting their way through the undergrowth, clearing it out. The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle… Read More

Social Change #2

PART 2 Lower Left Quadrant and zeitgeist The Lower Left is also where we need to consider how zeigeist morphs and its influence on the ‘climate’ for social change. As discussed earlier, the 1950s was a deeply conservative time in the United States. Stephen Perrin & Christopher Spencer (1980), in trying to explain their failure to replicate the results of Solomon Asch’s lines experiment (1951), attributed the difference in conformity to the conservatism of 1950s America as against the liberalism of England in 1980. They particularly pointed out the effects of ‘McCarthyism’, the strong ‘all-American’, anti-Communist hysteria across 1950s US which made many people frightened of being different for fear of being branded ‘un-American’. In contrast, having gone through, first, ‘hippie culture’ and then the ‘punk revolution’, Britain at the start of the 1980s was a much more liberal, anything-goes/express-yourself kind of place than it had been. Support for Perrin & Spencer comes from Nigel Nicholson, Steven Cole & Thomas Rocklin (1985) who found a modest but quite definite level of conformity among British students. Nicholson, Cole & Rocklin attributed the increase in conformity to the greater sense of national social cohesion which developed from Britain’s engagement in the Falklands War.… Read More

When BLUE fails, call for Clint!

Updated: 25 August 2016 For those of us who were raised in the 1960s and 1970s, Clint Eastwood was arguably the ultimate ‘big screen tough guy’. Never impossibly-muscled like the generation of ‘action men’ who came after him – the likes of Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sylvester Stallone – and rarely prone to the ridiculous levels of single-handed mass slaughter commonplace in their movies, Eastwood mostly played far more believable characters. And, because they were far more believable, Eastwood’s anti-heroes exuded a far greater sense of menace. Though Eastwood has long since moved on to become acclaimed as a director and filmmaker of quality, character-driven films with strong narratives, on the occasion this now rather-old actor gets his fists flailing, he is still believable as someone who would very willingly do you serious harm. Periodically there are still Eastwood seasons on TV, usually built around one or more outings of his 2 main anti-heroes, the mysterious ‘Man with No Name’ gunslinger and the homicidal maverick cop ‘Dirty Harry’. That Eastwood can still command a TV season of his films, when most of his contemporaries are forgotten by all but the most devoted, is testament to the enduring power of the myth Eastwood… Read More